Google Knocks IE

Google has apparently learned a thing or two about world domination from Microsoft. The latest example? Aggressive moves to convince users to move to Firefox or Chrome.

Here's how the scheme works: Google sends out a browser alert claiming that Gmail runs faster on up-to-date browsers, then offers links to Firefox and Chrome only. I got a bunch of similar messages from Hotmail, even though I'm on the latest rev of Firefox. If I remember right, it wanted me to upgrade to the latest IE, Firefox and maybe even Safari.

Do you use IE? What are the advantages? Thoughts welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Windows 7 Ready for Inspection, Sir!
At this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Steve Ballmer announced that pretty much anyone can now download the Windows 7 beta. Of course, you must first have a PC robust enough to run the thing. The good news is that many report that Windows 7 needs fewer resources than Vista -- that's a first!

I love the idea of a broad beta. It means the OS will get a good, solid beating, helping it ship faster and hopefully exterminate the bugs. Early reports from you, the Redmond Report reader, indicate that Windows 7 is faster and cooler than Vista. My plan? Skip Vista and move to Windows 7 when ready (and have a nice Mac lapper just for laughs).

Meanwhile, rumors have surfaced of a program that offers a free upgrade to Windows 7 for new Vista customers. The program, if true, could start this summer.

If you have the Win 7 beta, do me a favor and read my next item carefully. My inbox awaits.

Windows 7: Your Turn
Redmond Report readers have helped me write countless cover stories for Redmond magazine. Now I'm asking for assistance again. For March, I'm doing a cover story on Windows 7 and trying to draw my conclusions based on what IT pros think of the current beta. I've already heard from a handful of readers but as usual, I want more.

If you've been playing with the Windows 7 beta, drop me a line at dbarney@redmondmag.com. I'll get back to you with a bunch of questions. Like the rest of these cover stories, this will be your story!

Gartner's Green Guidance
Gartner has released a list of 11 ways to save electricity in the datacenter. To get the full report, you'll have to buy it or subscribe to a Gartner service. I'll try to save you a few bucks by summarizing the findings.

First, many datacenters are actually colder than they need to be, so turn down the A/C. There are also holes in raised floors than can be plugged so the hot air underneath doesn't escape.

While thinking about these floors, consider cleaning up the tangle of cables that disrupt air flow. Finally, you can separate cold zones from hot, cooling only what really needs cooling.

Mailbag: Windows 7 Not Too Shabby, In the Market for Apple, More
Doug asked, you answered. Here are a few of your impressions (mostly favorable, so far) of the Windows 7 beta. Keep 'em coming!

I've been messing with it since build 6801, an so far I'm hesitantly optimistic.
-Michael

I couldn't wait to try out the beta, and being ahead of the curve is nice when it comes to Windows 7. It has a lot of zip and pep. I hope Microsoft fine tunes the home networking of printers, but the OS is superb!
-Bryan

I am a small shop in Southeast Georgia and downloaded the copy of Windows 7 the day it was leaked to the Net. I have installed it on a Dell Optiplex GX260 with a 60GB hard drive and 2GB RAM. The processor is an Intel Pentium (R) 2.4Ghz. My first impression is: I love it. The OS is not as memory-intensive as Vista. So far, the machine has not crashed and has been running since the day of the leak. Some of the advanced features we can't use because the machine's video card is not robust enough. However, everything else is working better than expected. I am even using the RDP to "play" on the machine on my XP desktop.

I have tested Vista and Windows 7 and right now 7 is the winner. Even some of my older applications run better on 7 versus Vista. My staff and I are going to continue to hammer this OS and make it do what Vista couldn't do for us!
-Bill

I installed it on an Asus AMD 64 machine without a flaw. Had a little problem with a Linksys application (for the wireless card). However, "going direct" worked. The USB transfer is the most exciting part. I couldn't believe how fast it was compared to XP. But since I don't have Vista, I can't compare the USB transfer from/to the USB drive.
-Bill

Meanwhile, a few of you wondered about Windows 7's official name -- or whether that will even matter:

Do you have any idea what Windows 7 will be called? We knew about the Vista name long before release but I haven't heard anything about this iteration.
-Matthew

You can call it Windows 7 or anything you want. It's still Vista.
-Anonymous

Doug recently asked for some ideas on how Apple can expand its market, but one reader thinks that's missing the point:

You may want to check your premise and see things a little differently. I don't know that Apple feels a desire or need to expand for the masses. It seems quite profitable and successful as a niche player.
-Anonymous

There was a slip-up in a recent item about game consoles-turned-supercomputers, as one reader rightly points out:

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the Xbox 360 use a "triple-core PowerPC processor"?
-Anonymous

And Russ couldn't resist a little dig after Doug compared a do-it-yourself PS3 supercomputer to a Heathkit:

Boy, are you dating yourself or what?
-Russ

Check back in on Monday for more reader letters, including your votes for favorite and least favorite IT execs, and what Windows 7 will mean will mean for Vista. In the meantime, leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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